Living with a
child with ODD
Parenting a kid with ODD can be challenging
Here are a few strategies and tips that may help:
Find out the why
Behind every kid with ODD symptoms there is a why. Whether it be because school is hard, they are being bullied on the bus, they are worried about making new friends, etc. nearly every kid has outbursts for a reason. We have found that once you can identify the root cause, everyone feels aligned on how to tackle the issue.
Know what to expect–and don’t take their behavior personally
Consistency is key
You might feel that the simplest and easiest course of action, especially when you are stressed or tired, is to give in to your child’s demands rather than enforce house rules. However, in the long run, you and your child will benefit if you spell out consequences for inappropriate behavior and then follow through. We know as parents it can be hard to stay strict on rules when you are running out the door late for work or school, but usually if you let things slip once they can come back to bite you later. Consistent routines can be a huge help.
Hold yourself accountable
If you break one of your own rules, you must face the consequences. Children with ODD often feel victimized, so when they see that no one is exempt from the rules, they feel less attacked. For example, if you have a rule against shouting, apologize if you raise your voice. We all yell–this parenting stuff is hard. But when you yell, it can make it easier for your kid to feel like they can yell, too. So if you slip up, take it as an opportunity to model how to apologize.
Keep your expectations realistic
Look for opportunities to praise your child
Get support from people who understand your situation
Model a healthy lifestyle
Don’t give up!
Empower yourself by learning about ODD and its treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), biofeedback treatment, and family therapy are just three options. You may need to try a couple of approaches before finding the right one for your family, but it’s worth the effort. However challenging your child’s behavior might be, they can learn to regulate their emotions and improve their relationships with others. Parenting is hard – but you’ve got this, and we’re all in it together!